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vDosWP for the Mac

How to install it | How to use it | Printing | Graphics, color, etc. | If you only have the WPDOS installer files | Home page

vDosWP for the Mac runs WordPerfect for DOS 5.1, 6.1, or 6.2 under the Macintosh operating system. It is one of two systems created by this site for running WPDOS on Macintosh systems; the other is the DOSBoxWP system described on another page. (This site also provides a method for running WordPerfect for Windows on any modern Mac.)

Note: If you downloaded the installer between 4 October and 5 November 2022, you have a version with a minor bug that prevents the VCOPY macro from copying text from WPDOS to the macOS clipboard. The current version corrects this error. The version posted 18 December 2022 corrects a bug that prevented the application from starting in full-screen mode.

Both systems work in similar ways. DOSBoxWP supports high-resolution graphics for WPDOS graphic modes; vDosWP supports high-resolution graphics for WPDOS 6.x, but only 640x480 VGA graphics for WPDOS 5.1. I use vDosWP on my own systems; you may prefer DOSBoxWP. Feel free to try both; they do not conflict with each other.

The vDosWP system is based on vDos, by Jos Schaars, a Windows program that runs DOS applications in a window on the Windows desktop or in full-screen mode. The vDosWP for the Mac system runs vDos in a "wrapper" (based on the open-source Wine project) that allows it operate on the Mac.

Like DOSBox-X (the basis of this site’s DOSBoxWP system), vDos creates a DOS “environment” that acts like a “virtual” computer inside your real one. For example, drive C:\ in vDos is actually a folder on your hard disk named vDosDisk inside your OS X user folder. You absolutely must understand this concept while using vDosWP.

vDosWP for the Mac has these limitations:

The system runs runs on Intel Macs under macOS 10.13, 10.14, and 10.15, 11.x Big Sur, 12.x Monterey and 13.x Ventura, and on any Apple Silicon Mac. The system is frequently updated, most recently in December 2022.

If you find this system useful, please visit this page.

 QuickLook and Spotlight filters for WP files under macOS are available from another page.

If you want to read about WordPerfect for the Macintosh, which is an entirely different program from WordPerfect for DOS, see a separate page about WPMac on modern Intel-based Macs.

Frequently asked question:

Q. My Mac tells me that the vDosWP application is damaged and must be moved to the trash! How could you be so time-wasting and incompetent as to send me a broken application? I want my money back immediately!
   A. First, take a deep breath. Did you ignore the extremely important instruction below, and the paragraph above it that warns "Don't be clueless!" Probably you did ignore that paragraph. Now please read it slowly and follow it carefully. Also, I can't return your money, because you didn't give me any. However, you are certainly welcome to do exactly that.

How to install vDosWP for the Mac

1. You will need a copy of your WPDOS program files from your old computer. If you use WPDOS 5.1, copy the entire WP51 folder from your old computer to a USB drive or some other disk, or copy the whole folder to your Mac or to a USB drive plugged into your Mac. If you have WPDOS 6.x, copy to a USB device   your entire COREL folder, if you have one (or your entire WP61 or WP62 and WPC61DOS or WPC62DOS folders; also your BTFONTS and PSFONTS folders); optionally copy the folder(s) to your Mac. (You can also e-mail the folders to yourself or use any other method of transferring them, of course.) If you copied to a USB drive, plug it into your new computer, and make sure you can find it in the Finder.

If you don't have the WPDOS program files, but you do have the original WPDOS installer files (INSTALL.EXE, etc.), then see step 3a below.

Don’t be clueless! If you do not have either WordPerfect for DOS 5.1 or WordPerfect for DOS 6.x on your old computer, you will not find the folder for that version on your old computer. Clueless Visitor No. 44 asked how to find those files on his computer even though he had no reason to believe that he ever had them before. Please do not follow the example of Clueless Visitor No. 44. (One of a series of “Don’t be clueless” messages provided by this site as a public service.)

2. Download the vDosWP Installer application and move it to another folder from your Downloads folder (for example, your desktop).

Don't be clueless! Don't ignore the extremely important step described immediately below!

3. This extremely important step is absolutely required the first time you run the installer! Ctrl-click or right-click on the vDosWPInstaller and select Open from the pop-up menu. If macOS refuses to Open the installer, then close the pop-up menu, and once again Ctrl-click or right-click on the installer, and again choose Open. This time the installer should run properly.

If macOS insists on telling you that the installer is damaged, and should be moved to the trash, do this. Open a Terminal on your Mac; type in the following, followed by a space (and do not forget the space!). Then drag the vDosWPMacInstaller app into the Terminal and press Enter.

xattr -rc

If anything went wrong, you probably forgot to type the space after the string. When the command completes, repeat it, but with this command, followed by a space, and again, do not forget the space and drag the app into the Terminal and press Enter.

xattr -drs com.apple.quarantine

After the command completes, the installer should now install correctly.

Note: If a message from macOS asks whether to accept incoming connections for X11, you may safely answer either Yes or No, but I suggest answering Yes in order to make it easier to use advanced functions in the Wineskin wrapper; you may need these for future maintenance and fine-tuning.

3a. If you don't have a copy of your WPDOS program files, but you do have the installer files (INSTALL.EXE, etc.) then follow the procedure elsewhere on this page before you run the vDosWP Installer

4. After installing vDosWP, you may need to right-click on it, select Open, then cancel, then right-click again and select Open again. Also, the first time you launch it, it will probably display tiny messages saying that it is configuring itself, and offering to install Gecko or Mono; answer "Cancel" to the both the Gecko and Mono prompts if they appear, and let the program continue to set itself up. The app may need to be launched twice before it will run the first time, and it may take a minute or more to appear on screen after you launch it. This is normal behavior, and should only happen on the first launch.

5. Also, when you first run vDosWP, it may offer to open a vDosWP Options menu so that you can specify whether to launch WPDOS 5.1 or 6.2., or change the vDosWP screen size, or make other changes. You should probably ignore this menu the first time you run the app, but you can always return to it by holding down the Option key when launching vDosWP and holding the Option key down until the vDosWP Options menu appears.

By default, the WP Documents folder will be a folder named WPDocs in your Documents folder in macOS. To "map" any additional macOS folders to drive letters in vDos, hold down the Option key when starting vDosWP and choose the option to "Add or remove drive letters for OS X folders." (It says OS X because I am too lazy to update it to macOS.)

To use the Ctrl-arrow and Ctrl-PgUp/PgDn keys in WPDOS, you will probably need to go to your Mac's System Preferences, then the Keyboard pane, then the Shortcuts tab and change or disable any existing Ctrl-arrow or Ctrl-PgUp/PgDn keys listed there as active. (Look especially under Mission Control.)

Frequently-asked questions:

Q. I’m a lot smarter than most people who visit your site, and I have a lot of experience with computers, so I was able to figure out that your instructions imply that I should perform certain steps that you never explicitly mention, and they imply that I should make changes to the instructions that you never explicitly call for. Anyway, I cleverly performed those steps and made the changes that you clearly implied but never explicitly stated, and now my vDosWP setup doesn’t work at all. Why did you do this to me? Why did you imply that I should do those things that caused so many problems? How dare you imply such dangerous things?
    A. You, and you alone, caused the problems, because you insisted on performing steps and making changes that I never told you to perform. My instructions don’t imply anything. They tell you exactly what you need to do - no more, no less. Next time, please follow the instructions exactly.

Q. I can’t use your system! My old copy of WordPerfect 5.1 had a menu bar at the top of the window, with File, Edit, Search, etc. Your system doesn’t have that menu bar! It’s worthless!
    A. First take a deep breath. Then, in WordPerfect, use Shift-F1, 2 - Display, 4 - Menu Options, 8 - Menu Remains Visible, type Yes, then F7. Now, wasn’t that easy? (Incidentally, run the supplied WPDOS 5.1 MENUCLR macro to make the menu look better.)

Q. When I try to use the function keys in WPDOS, my Mac does something Mac-related.
    A. Go to System Preferences, then the Keyboard pane, and add a checkmark next to "Use all F1, F2, etc. keys as standard function keys." If this does not solve the problem, then you are probably using a third-party (non-Apple) keyboard and you will need to use the keyboard's own control software for a similar purpose.

How to use the vDosWP system

Convenient ways to access files and folders:  When vDosWP opens, its default directory (the directory listed when you press F5) will be Drive D:\WPDOCS  - which in reality (that is, in the reality of your macOS disk), is the folder WPDocs inside your macOS Documents folder. When WordPerfect creates or saves a file in what it sees as Drive D:\ it actually creates or saves a file in your macOS Documents folder.

This system lets you access files in multiple ways, in addition to the List Files screen in WP itself:

Summary of default drive assignments in vDosWP: As supplied, the current 64-bit version of vDosWP assigns the following drive letters to specific folders in macOS. You may not change the assignments of drives B:, C:, and W:, and do not assign drive Y:

B: = the vDos program directory (contains config.txt, autoexec.txt, etc.)
C: = the ~/vDosDisk folder (inside your Mac user folder)
D: = your macOS Documents folder 
E: = your macOS Desktop folder (use with caution!)
W: = the Wineskin Windows folder; do not change anything here!

You may view this list by entering the DOS command DRIVES (or DRIVES.BAT). Also, the system reserves Y: for use as the drive letter for files or folders dropped on a vDosWP shortcut icon. You can always see a list of currently assigned drive letters by using Ctrl-F1, Go to DOS, and entering the command USE. (Note that the 32-bit version of vDosWP uses a slightly different drive.)

To open files with long file names: I recommend against trying to open files in vDosWP that have long filenames (instead of standard 8.3 DOS filenames). However, if you drop a file with a long name on the application, it will offer to copy it to a file with an arbitrary short name, open that file for editing, and then restore the orginal name when you are finished editing. I have made this method as reliable as I know how, but I can't guarantee that it will always work.

For the best possible display: As supplied, vDosWP opens in a window with 43 lines and 80 columns. However, the vDosWP window can display any number from 24 to 60 lines and any number from 80 to 160 columns. You can change this by holding down the Option key when launching vDosWP until the vDosWP Options menu appears. Choose the appropriate option and follow the prompts.

Keyboard help: For a list of special keystrokes used  by this system, go to the vDos topline menu and choose Help, then vDosWP info. You may need to switch to the Finder and back to vDosWP before the vDos topline menu appears. Here is a list:

Optional Shell Emulation feature for clipboard exchange (version for 10.15, 11.0, and later only, added 18 July 2021): vDos supports a Shell Emulation feature that makes WPDOS work somewhat as if it were running under the old WordPerfect Shell. With this feature enabled (see next paragraph), you can paste from the macOS clipboard by pressing Ctrl-F1, Retrieve clipboard. You can copy text to the macOS clipboard with Ctrl-F1, Save to clipboard. You can append a string to the existing text in the macOS clipboard with Ctrl-F1, Append to clipboard. WordPerfect characters (Greek, Cyrillic, math/science, etc. are supported in both directions).

To enable Shell Emulation, hold down the Option key while starting the application, and choose Enable/disable Shell Emulation from the menu.

Disadvantages of Shell Emulation: vDos Shell emulation has some disadvantages. Under WPDOS 5.1+, you will not be able to import WPDOS 6.x files transparently; instead, you will need to use the CV.exe program supplied with WPDOS 5.1+ or temporarily disable vDos Shell Emulation by holding down the option key when starting the application. Under WPDOS 6.x, you will not be able to use the WordPerfect Font Installer from menus in WP itself (you can run it separately with the VRUN command); Grammatik will not be available; and large files in other formats may not import successfully. Again, you can restore normal WPDOS behavior temporarily by holding down the option key when starting the application.

Note: With Shell Emulation enabled, the Ctrl-F1, Go to Shell menu item opens a separate window with a command prompt that accesses the folder structure of the emulated Windows system in Wineskin. You can run traditional DOS commands from WPDOS by using Ctrl-F1, DOS Command, and the results will appear in the same window where WPDOS appears.

Other ways to exchange data with the macOS clipboard: If you do not use Shell Emulation, use the methods shown here. If you don’t remember these instructions, you can click on the system menu of the vDosWP window (the “C:” icon at the upper left of the window) for details.

To paste the contents of the macOS clipboard into WPDOS at the current cursor location, press Cmd-Ctrl-V. Alternatively, you can can also run VPASTE macro supplied with the system, which will produce slightly different results. (Cmd-Ctrl-V uses emulated Windows functions to translate the data from the clipboard in DOS format; the macro uses WordPerfect's file conversion functions.)

To copy from WPDOS to the macOS clipboard, either (a) hold down Cmd and Ctrl, then click and hold the mouse to start drawing a rectangle for copying text; when you release the mouse button, the contents of the rectangle are copied to the macOS clipboard or (b) select a block and run the VCOPY macro (supplied with the system) to copy that text to the  macOS clipboard.

Printing from vDosWP

To print from vDosWP, you absolutely, positively must already have installed a printer in  macOS! Before you begin, try to print from a macOS application, such as this web browser. If you cannot print from a macOS application, you will not be able to print from vDosWP! (Don't ask if I can make an exception to this rule for your benefit. It is physically impossible to do so.) After you have set up a printer under macOS, then start vDosWP and start printing as you did in WPDOS.

By default this system uses a PCL printer driver (the kind of driver traditionally used to print to LaserJet printers), but it prints to your default macOS printer, whether or not that printer is a PCL printer. Simply press Shift-F7, then Full or Print (depending on your version), and, after a few moments, your document will print on your default macOS printer. Don’t change anything in the Shift-F7 menu! Don’t choose a different driver! Don’t choose a different port! Just print it.

Remember: Do not try to select your actual printer in the WPDOS print menu! Just leave the system exactly as you found it! I really mean it! Make sure you understand this! Look into your heart! If you find an uncontrollable impulse to change the name of the printer or use a different printer driver, then stop now, and do not try to use this system!

Technical note: Behind the scenes, when you print to LPT1 (the default setting) vDosWP creates a PDF file and relies on an invisible macOS application to print that PDF file to your printer. I describe other printing methods below, including two that print directly to a PCL- or PostScript-capable printer.

Other ways to print from vDosWP: The easiest way to control printing from vDosWP is to change the Port settings in the Print/ Select/Edit menu. These settings are the easiest ones to use:

A note on the PDFMAKER macro: Warning: This macro has not been tested in the Catalina-compatible version of vDosWP and may not work correctly. Instead of changing the printer driver to print to LPT3 as described above, you can run the PDFMAKER macro supplied with this system. It will set the ports correctly (and reset them when finished), and will create a PDF file in the same folder with the current document; the PDF will have the same name as the document, with a .PDF extension. If the document is unnamed, the PDF will be created on the macOS desktop with an arbitrary name. When using this macro, don’t be clever, don’t be ingenious! Don’t change any settings before or after running the macro. Just run the macro! Remember: You absolutely should not do anything to change your settings before or after running the macro. Just run it!

To install soft fonts into WPDOS 6.x: Install soft fonts into WPDOS 6.x exactly as you do in any WPDOS 6.x system. Before installing fonts from inside WPDOS, copy your TrueType soft font files to the ~/vDosDisk/TTF folder (you may need to create the TTF folder) and your PostScript Type 1 soft font files to the v~/vDosDisk?PSFONTS folder. You may of course use any other directories you like, but you must create those directories on the vDosDisk folder and specify their location correctly in Shift-F1/Location of Files. Remember that ~/vDosDisk/PSFONTS must be listed in the Location of Files menu in WPDOS as C:\PSFONTS.

Graphics, color, and other settings

View and print the euro: In the printer drivers supplied with vDosWP, the euro symbol is mapped to WP character 4,72 (as it is in WordPerfect for Windows). By default, this system loads a WP2001.WCP codepage file (via a startup switch in the command that launches WP) so that the euro symbol appears on screen when you type 4,72 (or run the EURO macro supplied with the system). You will probably see a different character in print preview, but the euro will print correctly if you use the supplied printer drivers. You can change the WPDOS codepage setting by holding down the Option key when launching vDosWP and choosing the option to edit autoexec.txt.

Graphics: vDosWP supports VGA graphics (640x480) only. If the window is too small or too large when you use Print Preview or any other graphics, close vDosWP, and launch it again, holding down the Option key until the vDosWP Options menu appears. Choose the option edit the config.txt file, find the line that reads “SCALE = 2” . Change the number to 1 to reduce the size of the image or to 3 or more to increase it. Note that this scaling feature merely expands the 640x480 window in a rather ugly way; it does not change the resolution of the image itself.

Color settings: vDosWP displays underlined text when your config.txt file includes the line WP = 5 or WP = 6 (use 5 if you have 5.1, 6 if you have 6.x). If you do not want underlined text, hold down the Option key when launching vDosWP until the vDosWP Options menu appears; choose the option to edit config.txt, and add a minus sign before the number, like this: WP = -5 or WP = -6. If you use underlined text and you don't like the resulting appearance of the optional menu in WPDOS 5.1, run the MENUCLR macro; you can also use the RESETCLR macro to restore the default color settings. (Remember that this applies to WPDOS 5.1 only.)

Other customizable settings: For many other customizable settings in the vDosWP system, hold down the Option key when launching vDosWP until you see the vDosWP Options menu; choose the options to edit config.txt or autoexec.txt. Use these settings at your own risk, and be prepared to change them back if you don’t like the results.

If you only have the WPDOS installer files (not the installed program files)

If you do not have the WPDOS program files available, but you do have the WPDOS installer files (INSTALL.EXE, etc.), then do the following. This procedure requires that you download the vDosWPMac installer after 1 November 2020; if you have an earlier version, download the current version!

After performing these steps, you may, if you prefer, delete the INSTALL and WPTEMP folders inside the vDosDisk folder.

Help! How do I rename a file on the Mac?

The instructions on this site sometimes tell you to rename an application or file. To do this on the Mac, select the application or file with a mouse and then use any of these methods:

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